Bonamassa announced the arrival of the Lucite "high power" Twin-Amp on Instagram last night.
Of course, this crazy stunt act of boutique amplifier construction is an invitation to the "great for transparent tone" gag that was old back in 1961 when Fender finished a four-year project to make a prototype Stratocaster in Lucite.
But the Twin-Amp also invites comparisons to the Lucite Strat, for there is close to zero chance of this ever going into production, even in a limited run. Surely. Given that the prototype Lucite Strat weighed a whopping 18lb, we can only imagine what Bonamassa's Lucite Twin-Amp would weigh in at.
We do have an idea of how loud it will be. In March 2018, Fender announced a limited run of 1959 Joe Bonamassa signature "high power" Twin-Amps, built in their Custom Shop in Corona, California, and available exclusively from Bonamassa's official webstore.
The Fender 5F8-A Twin-Amp is as rare as vintage amps come. Fewer than a thousand were made, and their 80-watt Fender 5F8A circuit was notorious for overpowering the stock Jensen speakers. Guitarists who toured with the Twin-Amp, and intended on driving it as hard as it would go, would swap them out for high-wattage speakers.
Bonamassa's signature Twin-Amp follows a similar logic, with two 12” Celestion JB-85 speakers. As does this Lucite beauty.
No spec sheet has been released – after all, it is an Instagram post – but we would imagine that aside from swapping out the traditional solid-pine construction for Lucite, the lion's share of the electrics, the “yellow” paper-foil-resin tone capacitors and so forth, would be the same as Bonamassa's signature Twin-Amp, which was finished in a more stately tweed.
You can't put disco lights inside a pine-box vintage Tweed, and some nights demand a little extra production. OK, so the Lucite Twin-Amp might be too heavy to keep the ship afloat on the Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea Cruise, but hopefully we'll see it onstage at a Bonamassa gig sometime soon.